Lifting Europe’s dark cloud: how cutting coal saves lives
Effective emissions limits could save thousands of lives every year, yet more than half of coal power stations in Europe are operating with ‘permission to pollute’ above limits set in EU law. These are the findings of the report ‘Lifting Europe’s Dark Cloud: How cutting coal saves lives’ published by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, WWF and Sandbag. ‘Lifting Europe’s Dark Cloud’ shows how improving environmental performance at European coal power stations could save 20,000 lives every year. By setting and enforcing pollution limits in line with the best industry-recognised, tried-and-tested techniques, the annual number of premature deaths caused by burning coal could be reduced from 22,900 to 2,600 deaths. The report also finds that current legislation is failing to deliver its intended health benefits because special exceptions have been granted that allow for emissions over the agreed ‘safety net’ levels. At the time of publication, more than half of the coal power plants in Europe have ‘permission to pollute’ beyond the limits set in the Industrial Emissions Directive.